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When I open a PDF in Preview it always defaults to the Two Page setting and Always Show Sidebar, and I have to redo these things manually every time I open a file. How can I fix this. Also, I wish to open Preview to full screen by default or using shell automation script, how can this be done?

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  • In my experience, Preview opens in whatever viewing mode you used last time.
    – benwiggy
    Commented Apr 30, 2022 at 17:44

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When I open a PDF in Preview it always defaults to the Two Page setting and Always Show Sidebar, and I have to redo these things manually every time I open a file. How can I fix this?

You can have Preview first open a PDF document (PDF) in either of the Continous Scroll, Single Page, or Two Page modes. You can set any through the "Opening for the first time:" option accessible through Preview -> Preferences -> PDF in Preview.

There is no setting for a sidebar such as that for thumbnails, ToC, bookmarks, etc. to be automatically displayed or not when a PDF is first opened by Preview. However, if a sidebar is open when you close a document, then that sidebar would automatically open when you open the same document again. If you don't want a sidebar to open automatically when you open the same document again, just close any open sidebar by pressing Command ⌘+Alt ⌥+1 before closing the document.

However, closing any open sidebar before closing a PDF doesn't work if you have been viewing the document in the full-screen mode just before closing it. There appears to be a bug in Preview at this time (Preview v11.0 on macOS Monterey - v12.3) which causes any PDF closed when in full-screen mode to be opened along with a thumbnail sidebar when it is opened again. That is, the only way to make sure a PDF is not opened with a sidebar at this time seems to be closing the PDF without a sidebar when not in full-screen mode. I have reported this bug to Apple Product Feedback after writing this answer.

I wish to open Preview to full screen by default or using shell automation script, how can this be done?

I don't think there is a setting to enable the full-screen mode by default in Preview. There is a hack that kind of works for some of the programs available in macOS as explained in the "How to Make Apps Open in Full Screen Mode on Mac Automatically" article but it does not seem to work for Preview. However, you can you press Fn+F or Command ⌘+Ctrl ⌃+F right after you open a document in Preview to switch to full screen.

Unfortunately, I don't know how you can open any file automatically in full screen with Preview using either Automator or some AppleScript code.

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